Sail Komodo - what a blast!
18 August 2013 | Wini, Indonesia
Wini & Grupita, Indonesia
Wow – how can we explain the outright enthusiasm and incredible experience here? Words can hardly express the entire experience. Since these two stops had never had yachts, the local governments and officials went all out for the rally.
The welcome in Wini was fantastic. Complete with horse racing. The jockeys are only kids from 10 to 12 years old. The filly’s are quite spirited and barely broke. We got to joking around & bet on the next race with the horses. I choose Bintang and Tom choose Wini. He was promptly told “that is an old horse” – in response, he said “So am I”. Long story short, as the horses rounded the 1 kilometer track, Tom’s pick seemed to falter. The jockey ended up on the ground. The next moments were chaotic as people were racing across the field to see what had happened. Next thing we know, the entire race is stopped because Tom’s horse dropped dead on the track and spilled it’s guts all over the track…..mine came in first! Yea! This sets up for some crazy times ahead….
Next day we made a trip to the largest cave on Timor. Complete wit the Virgin Mary. The Dutch & Portuguese used this cave 400 years ago for their church and to live in. These are places rarely visited by Westerner’s. Get this - all tours are accompanied by the “Polsi” (police) & they run their sirens the entire way – 2 hours on this tour! People come out & line the roads, screaming hellos and waving. Incredible -
Our next stop was in the Highlands for more traditional dances and welcoming committees. We went to Insana Kingdom to meet the King of Insana and his subjects. It was very traditional which I know now means "like before whitemen". A rooster was summarily hacked up and had his blood drained into a bowl and his innards examined for hints of what the future holds for all of us. The future looked good said the lead shaman, as he held out the rooster's entrails. Not for the rooster I thought. Not for the cow that had it's head hacked off at a community gathering or the pig that was run over by the bus taking us indulgant western yachties to some exotic tour to a mountain kingdom. The driver didn't even flinch as he ran over that pig and no one even noticed but Tom, the driver and the pig.
The people are so friendly and eager to see us. We now know how celebrities feel getting their pics taken all the time. You have a smile frozen on your face. We have had our pics taken so much – it’s overwhelming. But fun!
We arrived back to Wini quite late but the rally guides had cold beer for us. Everyone was dying for a cold beer. We could see Mokisha as we chatted & enjoyed happy hour. At about 8PM (yes, it was dark by then) we went out to return to the boat. As we got closer we discovered she wasn’t there! No way, we thought, it’s not possible. It was a real sinking feeling to see her gone. We looked and looked and found nothing but the other 17 boats in the bay. We went to a friend's boat, Tropically, whom we had anchored near and they put out a call to the other boats asking if anyone had seen Mokisha. The last time she was seen was 6PM someone said. Radars went on and in minutes an object was spotted a mile or so off shore that seem not to be moving. That turned out to be Mokisha. A rescue party was organized and in an hour we were on our way back with her. We never had to deal with the reality we experienced when we had no money, no passports and no boat for that long hour. In the last 13 years of cruising we had never lost Mokisha.
The next night was the “Gala” dinner. It was fantastic with fabulous food & dancing. Tom decided to return to the boat early as he was uneasy sitting there with a little breeze in the bay. After loosing Mokisha, we didn’t want that to happen again! Tom promised to call when he had accounted for all 17 boats. Awhile later he called to say that all boats were safely secure & at anchor. About an hour later I went back with our friends, Laury & Karen on Tropically. Imagine our shock to see that Tropically was gone! We were anchored right in front of them so it was easy to see they had gone on a walkabout. We began shouting to Tom who had fallen asleep. He came out & thought we were playing a joke on him…….he couldn’t believe the boat wasn’t there. Tom & Laury immediately jumped in the dingy and we performed the entire scenario once again. An hour later, Tropically was safely brought back to anchor. Two nights in a row doesn’t make for good sleeping.
So in the end, we’ve got several dead chickens, a dead pig, one dead cow, one dead horse and two boats on a walkabout - all within 48 hours. Not to mention that Tom decided to try beetle nut with lime (yes, the kind like cement). The Lime was so caustic that within minutes he ‘burned’ his lip and it began to swell. Hmmmm……why did he try the beetle nut? Only he can answer that one! We’re hoping these events slow down a bit!
Next Stop – Grutipa – wow – the best yet…..Tom & I were honorary queen & king for the day.